The 2013 Dodge Charger is mostly unchanged from the 2012 model. It continues to offer a unique, performance-oriented blend of rear-wheel drive and V8 power. An optional package with cold-air induction and low-restriction exhaust boosts the Charger's base 3.6-liter V6 to 300 horsepower. Newly optional is a Beats by Dr. Dre audio system. New Blacktop packages mix a black roof, monochromatic paint scheme and rear spoiler, and new all-wheel-drive Sport packages are available on SXT and R/T.
The 2013 Charger continues to be a good used-car choice for the performance-minded driver who wants spaciousness and style in an affordable package.
What We Like
Fuel economy of 3.6-liter V6 with 8-speed automatic; coupe-like styling; Hemi V8 performance; all-wheel-drive availability; Uconnect infotainment; sinister-looking Blacktop packages
What We Don't
Navigation system is sometimes glitchy; front seats aren't supportive enough; Hemi fuel-saver mode sometimes over-aggressive; steering could provide more road feedback
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
Charger SE and SXT feature a Pentastar 3.6-liter dual overhead camshaft V6 with four valves per cylinder and sequential, multi-port fuel injection. The Pentastar pumps out a healthy 292 hp and packs 260 lb-fit of torque. It's a flex-fuel engine that can use regular unleaded gas or E85 ethanol. It has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with the rear-wheel drive and the standard AutoStick 5-speed automatic transmission or all-wheel drive and the new 8-speed automatic. Ratings improve to 19 mpg city/31 mpg hwy with rear-drive models using the new 8-speed. An optional package with cold-air induction and low-restriction exhaust boosts power to 300 hp.
The Charger R/T continues with a 5.7-liter OHV Hemi V8, which produces 370 hp and a robust 395 lb-ft of torque. It runs on regular unleaded. A fuel-saver mode allows the Hemi to switch to four cylinders under light throttle. Rear-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy, while all-wheel-drive Chargers get a 15 mpg city/23 mpg hwy rating. V8 Chargers are only available with a 5-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick manual shift control. No manual gearbox is offered.
The Charger SRT8 and SRT8 Superbee feature a larger, 6.4-liter version of the Hemi V8 with 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Only rear-wheel drive is offered with the SRT8 and SRT8 Superbee and a 5-speed automatic is standard. Premium fuel is required. EPA ratings are 14 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
Typical SE equipment includes A/C, cruise control, cloth seats, a power driver's seat, tilt/telescope steering wheel, split fold-down rear seat, power trunk lid release, remote keyless entry, a 6-speaker Uconnect 4.3-inch touchscreen AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 decoder, USB and auxiliary input jacks, auto headlamps, LED tail lamps, 17-in alloy wheels, stability and traction control, ABS 4-wheel disc brakes, a 3.6-liter V6 with 5-speed automatic transmission, dual exhausts and power door locks, mirrors and windows.
SXT adds the 8-speed automatic transmission, fog lamps, heated side mirrors, auto A/C, interior overhead console, Alpine premium DVD audio with 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen and Sirius satellite radio, voice command with Bluetooth, auto-dim rearview mirror, power passenger's seat, driver's seat lumbar control, leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel, heated front seats and remote start. All-wheel drive is an option.
Upgrading to the R/T adds the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 5-speed automatic, HID headlamps, a deck-lid spoiler, sport-contoured front buckets, Homelink garage-door opener, performance suspension and brakes and 18-in alloys.
The SRT8 drops in the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 and 5-speed automatic, Brembo brakes, heated and ventilated front seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, Harman Kardon premium audio, 20-in forged alloy wheels, security system, limited-slip differential and drive-mode selector with adjustable suspension damping.
Popular options such as leather seating, heated and cooled cup holders, navigation, a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, power adjustable pedals, 20-in wheels, adaptive cruise control, a backup camera, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision warning and more are available in option packages.
The Charger's sporty styling and traditional rear-drive performance resonate with enthusiasts. Expect all-wheel-drive Chargers to command higher prices in the snowy Northeast and Upper Midwest.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recall for the 2013 Dodge Charger:
On models with the V6 and all-wheel drive, the driveshaft can fracture, causing a loss of power or allowing a parked car to roll away.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA rated the 2013 Charger at four stars for frontal impacts, and five stars for side impacts and rollover performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2013 Charger a Good rating for moderate-overlap front-impact tests, side-impact tests and rear-impact tests.
The Chrysler Group covered the 2013 Charger with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty including roadside assistance, along with 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain and corrosion perforation warranties.
Dodge certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles and must be no more than five years old. Every CPO Charger undergoes a 125-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 3-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty plus a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the car's original date of sale. Also included is a Carfax report, 24-hour roadside assistance, a car-rental allowance and a 3-month trial of Sirius/XM radio.
Other Cars to Consider
2013 Ford Taurus -- Ford's biggest car gets a new, optional 240-hp 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, EPA rated at 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy, and continues to offer a standard 288-hp 3.5-liter V6. The Taurus boasts the biggest trunk in the segment at 20.1 cu ft., but interior room is not as generous as the car's large exterior might suggest. A torque-sensing all-wheel-drive system is also available.
2013 Chevrolet Impala -- All-new and based on the front-drive mechanicals of the Buick LaCrosse, the 2013 Impala is available with a 182-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and a 303-hp 3.6-liter V6, both teamed with a 6-speed automatic. The 2013 Impala is stylish inside and out, but is not available with all-wheel drive.
While the sporty looks and Hemi V8 sounds of an R/T might be enticing, the SXT and its 292-hp Pentastar V6 and 8-speed automatic offers a better balance of fuel economy and sensible transportation. Rear-wheel drive is always more fun from a performance standpoint, but an all-wheel-drive Charger will alleviate traction headaches in poor weather conditions. Look for a certified pre-owned Charger, if possible, and check with the dealer to make sure all safety recall items are resolved.